Research at the Environmental Research Lab in support of Biosphere 2 was both basic and applied in nature. One aspect of the applied research involved the use of biological reactors for the scrubbing of trace atmospheric organic contaminants. The research involved a quantitative study of the efficiency of operation of Soil Bed Reactors (SBR) and the optimal operating conditions for contaminant removal. The basic configuration of a SBR is that air is moved through a living soil that supports a population of plants. Upon exposure to the soil, contaminants are either passively adsorbed onto the surface of soil particles, chemically transformed in the soil to usable compounds that are taken up by the plants or microbes as a metabolic energy source and converted to CO2 and water.